When it comes to optimising your chances either with IVF or through natural conception, there is one single most thing that I believe is crucial. It comes in the form of a little hormone called Oxytocin.
Oxytocin is otherwise known as the Love Hormone. It’s the main hormone released during sex, or when we look into our loved ones eyes, or when we hold our baby for the first time. It gives us that overwhelming sense that we are not alone, that we have somebody to care for, that we love unconditionally.
The reason I believe this hormone is very important during conception is because it is also the hormone that is needed when a baby enters into the physical world. In order for a woman to go into natural labour, there needs to be an abundance of oxytocin in the system. This is needed both to induce and deliver the baby but also to deliver the placenta, and to encourage breast milk and feeding. But the body has a fantastic survival mechanism and so, if a woman goes into labour but then a big, snarling wolf comes into the room, the body will flood the system with adrenaline. Adrenaline cancels out oxytocin, so that labour stops to enable the woman to find safety. Once safe oxytocin comes back and labour continues.
It’s a wonderful system… If we were dealing with wolves on the reg! But the body can’t distinguish between a wolf and a printer jam at 6pm when you’re trying to get that important document out. The same is true of people that enjoy running. Your body doesn’t realise you’re not running away from that wolf! And so you see, we start flooding our system with adrenaline and there’s little room for oxytocin. That, coupled with the stresses of trying to make a baby… have I ovulated yet? I’m shattered, can we make it quick tonight? We had a glass of wine 3 years ago, would that affect things now? etc, etc. None of this is conducive to flooding our bodies with love hormone.
So the single most crucial thing when making a baby is to bring the love back. I know it can be tricky when you’ve been on this road for a while but it makes sense to me that if oxytocin is needed to help a child move from the womb to the outside world, it could also be very important in helping the embryo enter the womb. As yet, we don’t have the research to support this but we do know that foetus’s subjected to unpleasant emotions in the womb can impact their development. In fact, Chinese philosophy says that a healthy baby is conceived when there is love… and they know a few things about health! ;)
Verity Allen - BSc, BA, MBAcC, Lic Ac